Alabama Beginning to Certify Court Interpreters


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Alabama Beginning to Certify Court Interpreters

Following an incident in which unreliable interpreting resulted in a mistrial, Alabama is now offering certification for court interpreters. The program brings Alabama in line with 39 other states that use similar certification programs to establish interpreting standards in state and municipal courts. The voluntary program could lead to more reliable interpreting, which is increasingly important in Alabama as the state sees a growing number of litigants and witnesses who are not fluent in English. While state law requires judges to appoint qualified interpreters, it fails to define "qualified." Under the new program, Alabama's Administrative Office of Courts (AOC) will maintain a registry of interpreters who have completed a training seminar and passed both written and oral exams. The AOC recommends that interpreters on the certification list be used, but there is no requirement to do so. The first group of interpreters seeking certification in Alabama took the written test in April, and oral exams are scheduled for this fall. Spanish is the most in-demand language in the state's court system, but other languages are requested as well, including Korean and Vietnamese.

From "Alabama Beginning to Certify Court Interpreters"
Birmingham News (AL) (10/03/09) Stock, Erin

Source: ATA Newsbriefs - October 2009
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